London, England

March 12-23, 2003

Going back in time 17 years to recall stories and details of a trip is a little difficult.  I will share what I do remember from this wonderful trip with my bestie.  My tip to you is this, when you travel, keep a journal!  I wish I had started doing that back when I took this trip, but hindsight is 20/20.  While some things have escaped my memory, there are many things from and around the time of this trip that I will never forget.

While sitting in the Nashville airport on the day we left, Wed., March 12, 2003, I will never forget watching the tv and seeing that Elizabeth Smart had been found! 

I clearly remember that our flight to Chicago was delayed, which led to us missing our connecting flight to London.  Due to my bestie's persistence, they got us on another plane that night, instead of the next day as they had first stated.  We had time just enough to call home to tell our families of the new flight details.  And we were very first trip abroad and only the second time I had ever flown.

I remember waking up when we landed, and feeling very sick.  I was sick for the first several days of our trip.  I vowed then never to eat airplane food again.  lol  Plain McDonald's hamburgers were all I could stomach the first few days.  lol

I was extremely homesick, and worried about my 16 year old son who had just started driving right before my trip.  I conjured up all kinds of scenarios in my head that kept me on edge the whole time.

While in London, we kept close tabs with our families back home about the situation in Iraq.  They assured us daily that we were not at war...yet.  However, we were the ones to find it out first, as we walked out of the tube on March 19 to find people with newspapers saying, America had declared war.  I can still feel the unsettled feeling inside of me at that moment! 

So those were the things that I will never forget, but there are many more fun stories to tell! 

So I hope you will read on!

The Vicarage Hotel

We wanted to stay at a bed and breakfast instead of a hotel.  Although it was a "hotel", Vicarage was locally owned, and had the feel of a bed and breakfast, so that is where we chose.  The day we arrived, we got off the tube (subway), and hoofed it up Kensington High Street (yes, it was in the area of Kensington Palace) with all of our luggage in tow.  The place was simply lovely!  Our room was on the 4th floor...but there wasn't an elevator!  So, we had to haul all of our stuff up four flights of stairs.  Our checked luggage was delayed because of our flight issue, but it all arrived the next morning.  Thank goodness!  Each day, we walked ourselves silly then had to come back and climb 4 flights of stairs!  We always stopped in the tv room in the lobby first just to rest and gather up our strength to climb.  LOL  They were doing renovations on the hotel so there were some floors that were empty of guests and had plastic that was kind of creepy at night.  We laughed every single night as we made our ascent to our fourth floor room.  I was always the one to lightly knock on the office door to ask an alarm clock, directions, information, etc. etc.  My bestie would always say, "You know they are thinking, 'I can't wait until those damn Americans leave!'  LOL

London Theatre

When in London, the theater is a must!  We were fortunate enough to get to see Grease, The Lion King, and Phantom of the Opera.  We had purchased tickets for The Lion King and Phantom before we left the states, but it was easy to score some tickets for Grease while we were there.  They were all wonderful, but The Lion King and Phantom (my fav anyway) were INCREDIBLE!  


The Lion King

Phantom of the Opera

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Since it was so long ago, and the pics I took were on my camera, I am slowly locating the actual printed photos from our trip.  The following are places that we went, and I will add pics for each as soon as I locate them.

Buckingham Palace

Kensington Palace

The Tower of London

Piccadilly Circus

Chelsea Square

Trafalgar Square

Covent Garden

Portobello Road

Although we stayed in London for the most part, we did join a tour to 

Bath England and Stonehenge.  I totally fell in love with Bath, and could envision what it would be like to own a sweet cottage in the countryside of this quaint little place!

So when Lisa and I (aka Lucy and Ethel) go on a trip, there is always some craziness to tell about later. 

So here is one of those stories...

"Jump Off The Bus, Gus"

We boarded a double decker bus to tour the city, and get to several places to shop along the way...Harrod's, Selfridges, Liberty, etc.  I think we had just been to Selfridges, and were getting back on to head back to The Vicarage.  We were trying to find the right bus that would get us to where we needed to go (because we had been riding the tube thus far, but knew very little about the stops on the double decker).  I was trying to get on, with Lisa behind me, when the people in front of me were trying to ask the lady in charge (not the driver) did this particular bus go to *their destination.  She kept saying, Mah-ble Ahh-ch (Marble Arch).  They told her they didn't want to go all the way to Marble Arch, and asked if their stop would come before it on this particular bus.  The lady got louder each time they tried to make her understand....MAHHHHH-BLE AHHH-CH!!!!  They finally decided to just take their chances and chose a seat.  Next, it was my turn to ask about our stop...but after seeing what had happened, I turned to Lisa (who had not understood what I had just seen take place) and told her we were getting off.  She kept insisting I ask the lady, and I quietly said, just get off and I'll tell you.  Of course we had the biggest laugh!  So we wait for the next bus, and after cautiously approaching the person on the bus, I timidly asked about our stop.  As nice as could be, he told me that we were on the right bus....he told me what to watch for....Thank goodness!  Sooooo....we finally get to a stop where I saw the sign for where we needed.  I quickly popped up out of my seat, and bounded for the exit.  Lisa, was still standing at the back of the bus as it begins to move, and she sees me in the middle of the street, with cars, I might add, going in the WRONG direction from what I was use to!  LOL  I had jumped the gun and bounded off the bus at a REDLIGHT...NOT our stop!  I can still see Lisa's face with a look of horror as if she had seen me for the last time in my life ever!  As I am trying to dodge the traffic, and get to safety, all the while I'm wondering how I will ever get back to our hotel, and if that was the last image of Lisa's face I would ever see....the bus comes to a the ACTUAL stop!  We find the tube, and hop on to head back to familiar ground, all the while we are both laughing and gasping at what just occurred!

Yup....Lucy and Ethel at their finest!  LOL




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Check back.  There will be more to come!

"Lisa Stalks The Neighbors"

At night, when we had gotten back to the hotel, I had bugged the office manager one last time, and we made the long jaunt back upstairs, we would sit and talk about the happenings of the day.  Lisa's bed was over close to the windows, so she would peek out the curtains to watch the family in the apartment across the street cook their dinner, eat, and put their kids to bed.  It was easy to do when all of their curtains were wide open in each room!  One night, a man in a large hat came out of that building.  He looked up at our window and hurried toward our hotel.  We just knew he was going to show up at our door and tell us to mind our own business...but he never came.  And each night after, Lisa would continue to stalk the neighbors, making up stories about what she thought they were doing or saying.  LOL

Westminster Abbey

It is so incredibly gorgeous!

Buckingham Palace

Changing of the Guard